Meet the Contributors

Katie

Boerema_Mini-Session-011

Hi, I’m Katie. Pleased to meet you! My husband Paul is a saint. St. Paul, haha! I obviously have a corny sense of humor that lends itself to my greatest talent: ALWAYS getting the jokes on Popsicle sticks and Laffy Taffy wrappers. I have three precious daughters, who love to play HARD! We are an active family, and we really enjoy all the beauty Chattanooga has to offer. I stay at home and do my best to make the most of these days when my girls are little.

I went to college in Knoxville at THE University of Tennessee during the time of AOL Instant Messenger and Top 25 football teams every year. I live Tennessee football! My family’s season ticket seats have been the same since the 1960s. My family history is shaded by the memories of the many games we have attended together.

Me: I love lamp light, fireplaces, socks and blankets. Fall is my favorite season, and I love to camp and hike. I also love to sew but have absolutely no time to do it!

If there is anything that motherhood has taught me, it is to never lose hope. On the hardest days, I press forward for the sake of my sweet girls, relying on the strength and grace that comes from my Savior.

Jessie

Jessica CMB

Hi! I am Jessie, a 30-something stay-at-home mom and writer, editor, and blogger. My husband and I relocated to Chattanooga from Nashville in 2009 for him to teach at Baylor School. I’ve lived in Ohio, Indiana, and Virginia, but Tennessee is home sweet home now. We live on campus at Baylor, where my husband is a dorm parent and we enjoy the dining hall meals, pool, and gorgeous view of the Tennessee River!

I have three kids: a 7-year-old daughter and sons who are 3 and 5. When I’m not ignoring the housework for Food Network shows on demand, I’m shuttling them around to elementary school and preschool, gymnastics, PlayGym, and playdates. And trying to keep my 3-year-old from destroying everything we own.

After working for a few years in editing for LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, I “retired” to stay home with my daughter, but I continue to work for them and others on a freelance basis. I write for HomeLife and ParentLife magazines, work on the ParentLife blog, and have edited Bible studies and ebooks. I share about parenting, recipes, faith, and being an abysmal housekeeper at JessieWeaver.net and published an e-devotional titled Parenting Parables in 2014. You can find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest, too.

Stephanie

Stephanie CMB

Hello everyone, I’m Stephanie; so excited to introduce myself and meet new mamas locally.  I am looking forward to starting my blogging adventure, sharing my family, and discussing some hobbies with all of you.  I’m a Chattanooga transplant, and an Atlanta girl born and raised.  I spent 18 years in the same town and graduated high school with people who were in my kindergarten class! I then graduated from Liberty University with an MBA about 30 days before finding out I was pregnant with my first kiddo. My husband and I have lived in Knoxville, Colorado Springs, Hilton Head Island, and even Nepal. We have only been in Chattanooga for 2.5 years, but I’m happy to be here.

My husband Jeff is amazing. We went on our first date three months before we got engaged and 5 months before we got married!!! We have been married for almost 5 years and it’s been great! I am blessed to be a stay-at-home mom of three boys (triple gasp): Gabriel 4, Luke 2, Tytus 8mo.  Spending my days with my sons is humbling and gets wild, but it is by far the most rewarding mission I have ever taken on.

I’m passionate about being a mom and about seeing women thrive and grow. Several of my favored things are: my quiet times to grow into who I am created to be, family days, running with my hubby and kiddos (we push strollers and run.. those buggers ride), STARBUCKS, a sweet pair of boots, October–it’s my favorite month, and getting real with my friends. I am really looking forward to being a part of this Chattanooga Moms Blog team and getting to know you!

Ashley

Ashley CMB

I’ve called Chattanooga home for most of my life, with a ten year break while I attended college at the University of Missouri and lived in Sydney, Australia. I was dumb enough to fall in love with and marry an Australian, and now I’ll be taking 15 hour plane trips for the rest of my natural life. That Australian and I have two little boys, Jack (born 2012) and Beau (born 2014). Once upon a time, I worked as a journalist, but now I stay home with the kids. Our days are spent going to the Aquarium or the Creative Discovery Museum, digging in the dirt, dumping every Lego and Duplo we own on the floor and watching Paw Patrol, during which I constantly wonder who taught these dogs to drive trucks and why Ryder doesn’t have any parents. I love cooking, baking, eating what I cook and bake, listening to podcasts about true crime that make my husband think I’m creepy and Bill Murray.

Stefanie

Stef CMB

Hello! I’m Stefanie, and I am incredibly excited to be here at CMB! I have a B.A. in English and I am a LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker) on work hiatus, but that’s only because I get to be at home right now working the best job ever: mama to 10-month old spunky and adorable Leon. My husband, Bobby, is my sun and stars, and our son is the air that I breathe.

Here are some things I do throughout my day when I’m not being followed by Leon : amateur crafts, sew, play video games, enjoy the outdoors, read, drink coffee, wine, and beer, cook (not bake!), binge-watch my Netflix stories, travel, and garden (poorly). I love anything vintage or retro, cats, proper punctuation, Sci-fi, scotch, Spring time, puns, daisies, Harry Potter, eating ALL the food (especially local), and trying not to gain ALL the weight!

I have lived all over, but I finally made my way to Chattanooga over eight years ago. This is officially the longest I have lived anywhere consecutively in my whole life! I adore this town with its small-town feel and big-town opportunities for exploration and adventures in outdoors, eating, drinking, music, art, playing, and learning. I can’t wait to share with all of my fellow mamas out there!

Greer

Greer CMB

Hey momrades! My name is Greer Caldwell and I am recent transplant to Chattanooga by way of Athens, GA (Go Dawgs!) following my brilliant husband for an amazing job opportunity in Dalton, Ga. We are thrilled to be living in Chattanooga, and have been especially excited about the many things to do with our three kids: Laine (6), Lawton (4), and Eloise (2). We feel that our family is not quite complete and are hoping to try for one last baby in the near future. I created my own major at Berry College, focusing on theatre, dance and sociology.  I’m fascinated by how the arts can impact people and being involved with the theatre community is one of my greatest passions. Learning to juggle that as a mom of three young kids is a challenge and a gift, and I am grateful that my husband supports and encourages me unfailingly. The Caldwell Clan loves travelling, making messes, eating snacks, and being out and about in our new hometown. I am eager to meet and share with fellow moms and am so excited to be a part of this community!

Sarah

Sarah CMB
Hi! I’m Sarah Adcox, wife to SAHD Lee and mama to our wild child C who just turned 2.  I work as a Nurse Practitioner in a busy downtown Chattanooga ER and live just across the state line in North Georgia.  We love exploring the Chattanooga, Atlanta, and Nashville areas, looking for new favorite spots now that we are a family of 3.  I am a graduate of UTC and Vanderbilt, and have spent most of the past 20 years living in the Chattanooga area.
 
Lee and I are so lucky to be surrounded by our families in the Chattanooga area as well.  Having a SAHD husband and a built in village makes my never-ending quest for the perfect work/home/parent/spouse balance easier, but we still certainly have lots of (sometimes very unique) challenges. You can get a glimpse into our crazy by following us over at Parent of the Year.
 
My hobbies include coffee, wine, Scandal, pretending to be a runner, and playing trains.
 

Melissa

Melissa CMB

:: Assistant Sponsorship Coordinator ::

Greetings!  I’m Melissa, and I am an East Tennessean through and through.  I grew up outside of Knoxville and came to college here in Chattanooga.  Despite a 3-year interruption of trying out the Nashville area, Chattanooga has my heart.  I love the mountains and water, the localized area, the personality of the city, and the small town feel that Chattanooga has to offer.

I’ve been married to my wonderful husband, the Urban Woodsman, for over 10 years, and we have two rambunctious boys – Owen (age 5) and Jude (age 3).  They are 19 months apart, and life with two that close in age is never dull!

I work full-time in higher education, and I love what I do!  I love working with others to help them solve their problems.  College was one of the best times in my life, and in some ways, I get to live it again at work every day!  I have worked full-time throughout my time as a mom, and that presents its own share of interesting experiences.

Motherhood has various forms as does family, and I am an equal opportunist when it comes to what being a mom should look like!  In an attempt for full disclosure, here are some answers to burning questions: 1) I work full-time, but am in full support of all moms (full-time working, part-time working, stay-at-home) because being a mom is hard work 2) we are not planning to have any more children 3) I mostly formula-fed both of my kids after attempts at breastfeeding 4) both boys are c-section babies 5) my kids are not vegetable eaters 6) I do occasionally spank my children 7) I do vaccinate.  Whew…

In my spare time, I love to spend time with my family, binge watch Netflix (I take recommendations), watch college football, spend time outside, and crack stupid jokes (sarcasm is my preferred language).  I love to write and I love to know what other moms are thinking, so this gig seems like the perfect balance!

Elizabeth

Elizabeth CMB

:: Event Coordinator ::

Shoving my three boys under four years and my firefighting-husband outside to build and play together, I shut my bedroom door and sat down to write about myself. Wait, who am I now? It seems the last four and a half years have been a cacophony of needs that I am responsible for: diapers, eating, naps, clean noses, dirty laundry, dentist appointment, forgotten immunization appointments, ER trips always in the midnight hours; my individuality seems to have been swallowed into whatever person I am needed to be in the moment by my family.  A few traits have remained, which I suppose means they are the true pieces of my inmost nature. One, I adore a story, getting lost in an inviting documentation of someone else’s struggles, perspective and mystery.  After reading a particularly well written story, I can be caught pondering for days.  Two, paying full price for anything makes my stomach plummet, the guilt is felt for days. Most Saturdays before my third was born, our family was a yard/garage sales, and I always check Craigslist for furniture or appliance purchase. Three, I cannot abide a messy kitchen or unmade bed. I must be utterly exhausted if I go to bed with a sink full of dishes, and climbing in an unmade bed makes me cranky.

Writing is my release, my personal reminder to not take a sleepless night as an omen of the next ten years, my assurance to other Moms of Boys that drama is NOT absent from our home and my documentation that the lives I am helping to live are incredibly important and eternal.

I am not a Chattanooga native, but I have begun to love this city. I hope to explore it further and share my family’s journeys with you!

Brynn

Brynn CMB

Hello! I’m Brynn, pronounce like “Brenda”, but without the “da”, and nope, it’s not short for Brenda.

I  grew up in Monroe, Louisiana, until I moved to Searcy, Arkansas for college. (Yeah, you’ve probably never heard of it). After I received my Bacheor’s degree in Nursing, I decided to move to Nashville, where I knewone person.  I couldn’t wait to experience the adventures of city life! And while I loved Nashville, I met my boyfriend on e-Harmony, and yup, we were marriend several years later!

I have lived in Chattanooga for just over 8 years now! I moved here in 2007, to be closer to my then boyfriend. I was single, a nurse who could easily get a job, and knew I really liked him. So I took the risk and moved to Chattanooga, where he was the ONLY person I knew. (Are you beginning to see a pattern?).  We were married three years later and now have two beautiful children and a dog.  My daughter is 3, going on 13, and my son is 6 months old, and adoring his big sis! Life is busy!  Between potty training and nursing, to sleepless nights, we stay busy, even though we attempt to not stay busy!

Besides being a part-time operating room nurse and attempting to be super mom and super wife (which, I know will NEVER happen!), I love learning (I know, what a nerd!).  I prefer to spend my time reading, and writing, and enjoying anything outdoors!

My number one passion is inspiring all women to realize that they are extraordinary and beautiful.  I want myself and all women to strive to live in extraordinary ways in our ordinary lives.  You can find me at, ExtraOrdinary Living writing on all sorts of things to help encourage you to live an extraordinary everyday life!  My website is a work in progress, so follow me to see what adventures lay ahead!

Photography by Show Me a Smile Photography

Taylor

Taylor

Hi everyone! My name is Taylor Lyons, I’m a 30-something gal who recently relocated to Chattanooga with my dreamy Husband and two wild boys, Raine and Jude. We’ve come to beautiful Tennessee to raise our boys after spending many years as struggling artists in sunny LA. My husband Craig (the comedian of the family and creator of the worst puns imaginable) refers to himself as a ‘recovering professional musician’. He’s turned full on genius code slayer and works downtown in the Innovation District. I hold an MFA from CalArts and love finding opportunities to unleash my inner theatre nerd and can sometimes be seen on the T.V pretending to know how to use a table saw or some other such silliness.  I’m a full time Mom and part time everything else — actor, writer, Barre instructor, amateur veggie home chef, and amateur gardener. We love good food, good company, live music and Netflix. I recently discovered that are just some days when I subsist entirely on wine and tortilla chips, and I’m pretty much OK with that.  Currently, life is simultaneously chaotic and beautiful in our house with two boys-3 and under. And though I miss sleep, using the bathroom without an audience, and eating warm meals, I wouldn’t trade these days for anything. I’m excited to be a part of the CMB team and share a little of our world, meet other Moms, and hear from all of you!

Karenza

Karenza

I’m Karenza, I’m a Chattanooga native by way of South Africa. I was born in Capetown and my parents moved here to Chattanooga when I was 8. Oh and I’m Indian. I went away to school, Knoxville and Johnson City, graduated with a degree in Biology from ETSU then ended up moving back home with my future husband, Brad. We bought a Fixer-upper in St. Elmo and then brought a new born baby home to it. She is 6 now and about to start first grade,  our Karin. Karin is our bold, little firecracker that keeps us on our toes. Brad has done 99% of the work himself he is a carpenter/owner of Woodtryst. I’m so lucky, if I can dream it he can make it (when he has time). We are still restoring our beautiful home and when I’m not going to playdates and sanding stuff I’m helping play matchmaker in real estate. Balancing things in life is the hardest struggle, but on days when I get it right it’s so worthwhile.

Katie

Katie

Hi there!  I’m Katie!  My husband and I were born and raised in the Nashville area (Franklin, TN), and moved here in 2012, so that he could go to UTC for Chemical Engineering.  I did NOT want to leave the lives we had been so used to back home, especially with a one year old and his two sets of grandparents we were leaving behind, but Chattanooga has absolutely grown on me since then!  We have had one more little boy, and have a daughter due in November.  The boys are now 5 and 3 years old, and love legos, board games, grilled cheese, and sprinklers!

I’m very active in a mom’s group I selfishly created as a forum for my endless parenting questions when we first moved here called Chattanooga Mamas.  We now have two other mom’s groups that spun off from the initial group for playdates and also for mom’s nights out, where we host craft nights (Pinterest nights) and other fun outings.  Meeting all the wonderful people from those groups, MOPs, and elsewhere is one of my favorite parts about life here in Chattanooga!

I dream of someday being an art teacher for kids (focusing mostly on clay), a gardener, or an author.  For now, I am quite content with just being mom, aside from all the cooking it requires!  I’m working on that one!

Beth

Beth

I am a Chattanooga mom to three kids.  I grew up in Chattanooga and enjoying everything the city has to offer.  It has been so much fun to see it grow and change over time.  I graduated from Baylor in 1999 then moved to Nashville where I spent four years at Vanderbilt University and graduated with a BA in Political Science in 2003.  I decided I wanted to go to dental school near the end of my time at Vanderbilt, so I returned to Chattanooga to attend UTC for a year.  I was able to take the science classes for dental school and was also lucky to be able to walk on and play tennis for the UTC women’s tennis team here.  After my year back in Chattanooga, I moved to Memphis where I attended UT College of Dentistry for four years and received my dental degree in 2008.  I also met my husband, Brian, in dental school!  We were in the same class, so we both finished up at the same time.

When we finished dental school, we moved to New Orleans where he did an orthodontic residency at LSU.  We lived there for two years, and I worked as a general dentist.  I decided I really loved working on kids so I applied to a pediatric dental residency and was accepted at UT.  Two weeks after my husband finished up at LSU Orthodontics, I started my two year residency in pediatric dentistry, and we were back in Memphis again.

I finished up there (and had our son, Cooper, in the middle of the first and second year of residency), and we headed to Chattanooga to FINALLY settle permanently.  I am working as a pediatric dentist and my husband as an orthodontist in the area.  We have been here for a little over four years and have had two more kids.  We now have Cooper (5), Caroline (3), and Lucy (1) and two dogs, and we live in North Chattanooga.  We love the area and everything that it has to offer, and I love being home and close to family.  We enjoy being outside and we love dining out in Chattanooga.  It has been fun to see how much the city has grown and changed in just the time we have been here.

Brenda

BrendaSteffen

Years ago, I sailed with the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship to war-torn countries in West Africa. I wrote stories by day, but I spent my evenings wandering the deck, wondering if I would ever tie a knot that wasn’t attached to a lifeboat. And then I met my husband.

‘The Sailor’ and I navigated through five years of long distance dating between several continents before we finally got hitched. We still spend months apart at a time, but thankfully we live in an era where technology still tethers us together. We landed in Chattanooga via South Africa and Pennsylvania, because we wanted four seasons, a mild winter, a creative vibe and easy access to a major international airport.

Having a baby was pretty far off of my radar, but these days I’m a toddler-wearing, co-sleeping, breastfeeding and cloth diapering stay-at-home advanced maternal aged mama to the Peanut. Our son came along in the summer of 2014, after the Sailor and I had been married for nearly eight years.

We haven’t slept since. Even if the Peanut actually sleeps, I stay up way too late reading, writing and making plans to start up a small business selling hand-knit slippers mainly because I love yarn. And slippers.

I’m also slightly obsessed with handbags and luggage (possibly attributed to the fact that I didn’t own any furniture until my mid-30s), vintage Pyrex, our Breville Barista espresso maker, the brawny South African sailor I met onboard the ‘Love Boat’ and of course the Peanut. Not necessarily in that order.

Nowadays, I may no longer wander the decks of a ship, but you can often find me chasing after my son at Coolidge Park, the zoo or the library. You can also find me online and read more about my adventures both pre- and post-Peanut at: typingsunflowers.blogspot.com.

Jama

Jama

I am Jama, a stay-at-home homeschool mama of four boys and wife to a software developer. I grew up in Johnson City, TN and spent a couple of years at UT-Knoxville, gaining more social experience than education. The Lord had a plan, though, and after returning to Johnson City and enrolling at ETSU, I met my future husband. We were engaged three months after our first date and married in just over nine months. I finally finished my degree in 2006 (a BA in Philosophy, because I’m super practical) and found out 6 days later that we were expecting our first baby.

I always wanted to be a mom and it is everything I thought it would be and more. I am encouraged, exhausted, always learning, and most days afraid that I’m screwing it all up.

We are new to Chattanooga, but already feel right at home in this hi-tech, outdoorsy, family-friendly city.

I love Jesus, my family, running, weight-lifting, coffee, wine, ice cream, sunshine, comfortable clothes, a clean house (stop laughing), and those rare moments when all my boys are snuggled up with me as we read a good book. I am confident that one day I will get a full night’s sleep and I hope that’s before my boys leave for college.

You can check out my fitness journey at www.lungesandlegos.com or meet me at the Hamilton Y at 5am most days of the week.

Ashley S.

Ashley Stein

Hi everyone! My name is Ashley. I was born and raised in Dalton, GA, but I started attending GPS in the seventh grade, so I’ve always considered Chattanooga to be my home. After graduating college at UGA, I had wanderlust and moved around a bit, from Reno, NV to NYC for several years, but I somehow knew I would always end up back in Chattanooga. For me, it has so much to offer, and since I’ve been back, I have loved watching it grow and change into a place with even more charm and culture than before I left.

My husband and I actually met and became good friends in high school. When I moved back to Chattanooga, we reconnected, started dating, and got married two years later. Our son was born in 2013, so most of our time is spent trying to keep up with a bright, energetic 3 year old. We love exploring Chattanooga as a family, and my husband’s hobby is photography, so most weekends you can find us walking around downtown, hiking through the Battlefield, or wandering around a local park, looking for new places to shoot.

I am currently staying at home with our son, so most days we like to get out to the Aquarium, the park, or the Creative Discovery Museum. As for me, I enjoy drinking coffee and listening to podcasts. I love stand-up comedy and road trips, fall and football season. My perpetual quests are finding restaurants that have great ambiance and searching etsy for my next novelty t-shirt. Oh, and my biggest pet peeve is glitter. I think it’s really important that you know that.

Chelsea

ChelseaSadler

Hi! I’m Chelsea. I find it so funny that I am writing a bio for Chattanooga Moms Blog because until April 1, 2015, I swore up and down I would never have kids. April Fools Day will always have a place in my heart because that’s when I learned I was really pregnant. No joke. Now I’m the mom to a wild-haired, always happy little girl named Grayson or Gray Baby for short.

I moved to Chattanooga in 2007 from West Tennessee to attend UTC. By the time I graduated in 2011, I knew I wanted to call Chattanooga my permanent home. I am a two-time Moc after graduating in 2011 with a Communication degree and again in 2014 with my Master’s in Public Administration. I currently work for the City of Chattanooga in Mayor Berke’s Office. I love working for the public sector and especially love working in an office that makes a family-friendly workplace a focus. Grayson can be found playing in my office floor when her daycare is closed or I have to run back to the office after work hours. If I didn’t love public service so much I would be a makeup artist which I get to do on spare weekends for weddings and events.

Becoming a first time mom and working mom without much forethought has been a learning experience for sure. I hope that my struggles and lessons can be shared with other moms here in Chattanooga. I definitely believe that it takes a village when it comes to raising a child and my village is pretty fantastic. Between my husband, biological sister, lots of sorority sisters from UTC, coworkers, and other friends, I have a lot of help and support.

My family and I love to spend time (aka nap and cuddle) with our two rescue dogs, Munch and Shay, go kayaking and hiking around Chattanooga, and try to figure out what the heck we are doing as parents. I’m sure a lot of you can relate.

Rhonda

Rhonda

Hi, I’m Rhonda! I’m from Ringgold, Georgia. I attended the University of Georgia (go DAWGS!), where I met my husband, Dave.  He makes me laugh—a lot, and he reminds me that it’s perfectly okay to just be me.  We relocated to Ringgold from Atlanta about five years ago and couldn’t ask for a better place to raise our three incredible children. We love God and are trying our best to model His love to them. The majority of our free time is spent cheering for our kids at volleyball, basketball and soccer games, and swim meets—whew!  It’s where friendships form and we feel the most a part of our community.

In college, I majored in English, and I knew from the start I wanted to teach.  I spent the past 15 years teaching middle and high school English. This year is my first as a Media Specialist which seems like a natural progression. I’ve always had a fascination with the written word and I hope to write a book one day, so being surrounded by books and sharing my love of reading with students is a dream job.

In what spare time I have, look forward to time outdoors to connect with nature.  It’s where I feel the most at peace and the closest to God.  So, if I’m not at the ball field, chances are you may see me out hiking trails or perusing the aisles of Barnes & Noble or McKay’s.  Life is good, and I am thankful.

Christy

cmb-christy

Hi, I’m Christy. I was born and raised in and around Chattanooga and have been in the area all my 30-something life. I am married to John and am a mother to two handsome boys. Our family also has 7 pets. One dog, one cat, and 5 chickens.  We live in the ever famous Soddy Daisy and enjoy being a part of a small community.

I am a lover of coffee and books. Jesus. The UT Vols. Kayaking, hunting, fishing, photography, traveling, and working out. Fall is my most favorite time of the year….football, pumpkin spice, blankets, and bonfires.

Elizabeth Deal

Elizabeth CMB

Hello, Beautifuls! (I believe all Moms need to remember how beautiful they are – always! So, I like to start my greetings as reminders of the beautiful person you are inside and out.) My name is Elizabeth, and I am a wife, mother, “bonus” mom (Saying, “Stepmom,” makes me think I need to paint my face green and grow a huge wart on my nose. Therefore, I use the term “bonus” mom. 🙂 ), daughter, sister, friend,  freelance writer, Notre Dame fan, BRAVO addict, Starbucks lover, once-a-week cryer, and a “little bit” of a worryer (Anyone who knows me is probably laughing right now at the fact I said, “little bit.” LOL).

I moved to Cleveland, TN, (or “CleVegas” as some call it) when I was five-years-old and graduated from Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga in 2001. After attending Auburn for a while, I returned to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where I earned a B.A. in English: Writing with a minor in Communications. From copywriter to assistant managing editor to managing editor to technical writer to freelance writer, I moved my way through the writing industry. However, I always felt something was missing. Fortunately, in January 2014, I found the missing piece to my puzzle.

My husband, Dustin, and I were married in May 2014 (When you know, you know!), and with him came two gorgeous girls, Autumn (born 2001) and Ashlynn (born 2003). We quickly added to our family, and in April 2015, Mr. Easton Michael graced us with his presence and completed our family. Our two teenage (Ahh!!!) daughters and son (Who definitely makes his presence known at ALL times.) keep us on our toes – and I couldn’t be more grateful for them!

When I am not putting my two cents in over here at CMB, I am writing for an amazing company, Social Joey. My favorite pastime includes sitting in my comfy bed, sipping a Starbucks, catching up on my Real Housewives (I would love to be Bethenny’s assistant!), and shopping for more LuLaRoe!

 

Danielle

Danielle-CMB

Raised in Ringgold, GA, I have always considered myself a near enough resident of the “big city”, Chattanooga. Through various moves, I have found myself living right next door to the house I grew up in. While my family’s physical address is not in Chattanooga, most of our days are spent traveling the short drive up 75 North.

Staying home to raise and school three children, ages 9, 4, and 3 has been an adjustment from my lifelong dream of being a motivational speaker/super model/teacher/doctor/writer. Can you tell that I’m a bit of a dreamer? Despite those titles not being official or adding any letters to the end of my name, I have found that the big dreams we have as little ones weave their way into our adult lives. For this reason, I am always encouraging my children to dream big. 

My husband and I were high school sweethearts but separating prior to our college years. My family raises cattle and are contractors; all are business owners like myself. However, my husband went on to pursue a career in any type of design he could put his talents to. He is now the lead animation designer for Level 2 Design (he draws things then makes them move). After a brief separation of three years- a time where I had a son, married, and was widowed- we began dating again. Marrying at the beautiful Lindsay Street Hall then honeymooning at Stone Fort Inn, we started our forever together!

Quickly building a family from three to five within a span of 23 months post honeymoon left us in a whirlwind. With fear of “losing myself” in post homebirth recovery, cloth diapers, and minimal adult conversion, I attached myself to the paper of a journal. 

While I still love to write silly poems and have daydreams of speaking to massive amounts of people, I don’t believe I will ever be tied down to a profession of writing or public speaking. I like that the current titles of wellness educator, blogger, homeschool and homebirthin’ Momma, and Bible study leader/teacher offer flexibility. At the current age of 27, I am learning to listen more and talk less. Sounds simple, but in this day I believe people just want to be heard. There are many things I am passionate about in life. To narrow them down, I am a strong advocate for maternal support, the family dinner table, and being kind.

Alexi

Alexi-CMB

Eleven years ago I was a newlywed living in the panhandle of Florida. Originally from Ohio, I missed watching the seasons change, and was getting sick of dodging hurricanes. I was ready for a change. When my husband Adam was offered a job in Chattanooga our first thought was…where is Chattanooga?!? We pulled out an atlas (yes, I am 100 years old) and charted a course. 
While he endured a 4 hour interview process I was dropped off in the Bluff View Art District with no car and no idea how to entertain myself. I stumbled into Tony’s and had an amazing lunch, took a coffee to go from Rembrandt’s next door, walked up the street to the Hunter Museum of American Art, strolled across the Walnut Street Bridge and finished my afternoon at the Aquarium. I was sold. Two weeks later we made Chattanooga our home.

Over the past decade we’ve added two dogs and two kids to our family. When I’m not busy keeping my humans alive I work as a freelance writer and Author. This year I accomplished a pretty big life goal, publishing my first book 100 Things to Do in Chattanooga Before You Die. I’m excited to join the team at Chattanooga Mom’s Blog and share my passion for the Scenic City. If you want to follow my exploits in and around the town check out my blog AlexiRuth.com, or connect with me on Twitter and Instagram.  

Dawn

Dawn-CMB

Hey, y’all! I’m Dawn! I was born and raised in Gallatin, Tennessee and could not wait to get out of there! I attended Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia where I majored in English (Literature) and Economics. For years before having my older son I worked in marketing communications and advertising which I loved. After having Brendan in 2003, I became a stay-at-home mom but nearly lost my mind from loneliness and boredom. In 2005, I began freelancing as a writer and shortly thereafter started my own blog. Our family grew with little brother Beckett arriving at the end of 2006. Over the years, I’ve been challenged with postpartum depression and with balancing my yearning for meaning with being “just a mom.” I found great delight in being a part of our Atlanta public school’s PTA where I served in nearly every role available. In 2015, I returned to a full-time job as Marketing Director for a small company only to find out 8 months later we would be moving to Chattanooga. Moving is in the top 3 hardest things I’ve ever done (ask me in person and I might tell you the other 2) and led to a full-blown depression at the beginning of 2017. Mindfulness practices, a little faith, and making the conscious choice to find joy everywhere have been my way out. 

I’m into art, movies, music, TV, pop culture, nerdy stuff like Doctor Who and Game of Thrones and I know more than my share about the DC Universe, Pokemon, Minecraft, Battlefield, and all things LEGO thanks to having two boys. 

Cary

Cary-CMB

Hello. I’m Cary and am really happy to join the Chattanooga Moms Blog team.  I’m originally from Roanoke, Virginia and spent most of my earlier life in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.  My husband and I met in Virginia Beach where I was a school librarian and he worked for a beverage distributor.  In 2008, we married and relocated to North Georgia, so he could join his dad’s insurance agency.  I received a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University, a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Mary Baldwin College, and a Master of Library Science from Syracuse University. We are parents to two young boys, ages six and four, who couldn’t be more polar opposites.  My oldest son is a creative thinker who likes to talk about his latest lego projects.  My youngest son is a clever, athletic boy who loves to wrestle his cousins. 

My family and I delight in exploring new places, even if the car rides are rough for the little ones. I have been hooked on international travel since my parents begrudgingly agreed to a sophomore year May term in France.  Since then, I’ve traveled overseas numerous times.  Sometimes for fun, other times for a job.  While I was a teacher (and living in Virginia Beach), I found overseas teaching jobs during summer break. I know…you’re thinking,”Give up the beach, to work?” I was bitten by the travel bug! I taught at a very traditional school outside of London, The American School in England,  as well as a school through Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. I think my sense of curiosity kept me from becoming too homesick after moving here. Everything is new, so there’s always someplace to wander. While living here, my family and I have traveled around Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida.  But, there are still so many places to see!

Since you can gather by now that I’m not originally from this area, I needed to meet new people and latched onto a notice about the Holmberg Leadership Institute. This great group has introduced me to lots of wonderful art venues and programs throughout this area. I have a great affection for the arts – dance, music, theater, visual, you name it.  I truly believe they are essential for a child’s development.  When my oldest son was a year old, I enrolled him in Kindermusik.  As he ran around the room, I wondered if I made the wrong decision. But, as if on cue, he stopped, listened to the music, the sounds, the instruments. And he loved his teacher! Just like Chattanooga, my hometown nurtured my appreciation for dance and theater. From the age of 4, I spent the majority of my time in a dance studio.  And by the age of 11, I was a member of the Roanoke Ballet Theater where I learned discipline, resilience, and physical stamina. That last one is important when raising two young boys!

Jennifer

Jennifer-CMB

Greetings, all! I’m Jennifer. I was born in Maryland (Andrews AFB), transplanted by age two to Charleston, SC, and moved once more to Soddy-Daisy, TN, the summer before 4th grade. I’ve stuck around since (with a brief stint in Murfreesboro for college), making me more or less a Chattanooga native. My husband (Jeremy) and I have been married for just shy of nine years, and we were blessed with our first kiddo, Arthur, in 2015.

When I’m not chasing a spirited toddler around the house, I’m writing professionally on a host of different topics, primarily healthcare, for a health insurance broker based out of Florida. The internet is an amazing place, isn’t it? I started my freelance writing career in February 2013, when I left my job as a legal assistant to do pretty much anything else. I’ve got a B.A. in English (MTSU) and an M.A. in Creative Writing (UTC), and my lofty career goals include becoming a novelist, blogger, and writer extraordinaire. My lofty mom goals include not wearing sweat pants every day (no go so far), getting Arthur to try new foods (also nope), and attending every field trip/bake sale/class party/marching band competition/etc. until the kid graduates high school (fingers crossed)

Interests? I’ve got a few. I love Victorian-era literature (especially children’s books), murder mysteries, interesting nonfiction, C.S. Lewis, and Harry Potter. If I could only choose one TV show to watch for the rest of my life, it would be LOST. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite movie, and my husband and I are a tad obsessed with Disney in general (and Disney World in particular).

I’m looking forward to sharing my stories with the Chattanooga Moms Blog. If you want to read lengthier, more personal (and frankly, more rambling) stories about the goings-on of a new mom and her ever-fascinating offspring, check out my blog (Hello Tiny Human).

Holly

Holly-CMB

Hello Moms! I am excited to be a part of the Chattanooga Moms Blog and share my experiences with you. We have called Chattanooga home for some time now & I love all Chattanooga has to offer. I married my high school sweetheart at the crazy age of 18 and we will soon celebrate 27 years of marriage. We have four young men ages 23, 21, 15 & 8. We are a homeschooling family and I am thankful I have been able to stay home and homeschool all of my children.

I head up a homeschool social group in the Chattanooga area offering planned field trips, park days and enrichment classes. I also teach literacy classes encouraging children to have a passion for reading and helping to extend their vocabulary.

I moved around a lot as a child and I learned at a very young age that sometimes people just need a friend or a cheerleader. I was the new girl in ten different schools by the time I entered ninth grade. Sounds miserable but I am thankful for those experiences for they have made me who I am. I do my best to try to be the one to help the new girl or mom feel welcome. Being a mom is hard and lonely sometimes and I believe there should be a motherhood-sisterhood in all of our communities.

My hobbies include crafts and decorating on a budget. I enjoy cooking but not the cleanup. When I have time I’d rather be running.

You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram. Check out my personal blog Home Sweet Home with Holly.  

Shannon

Shannon-CMB

Hi ladies! My name is Shannon. As a first time mom and a SAHM, I’m so excited to be a CMB contributor, so I can share my experiences with you. Maybe reading about my crazy life can help make your life seem less crazy or like you are not alone in this world of “momhood”.

I’m originally an Alabama girl (Roll Tide!), but my husband and I relocated to Chattanooga, TN in 2014 after living out west for a few years. For the past three years, we have been working to make Chattanooga our forever home. Literally… my husband has spent the last two years building our home with his bare hands while working a full time job as a computer science engineer (I’m a blessed girl.). While building our home, we have lived on our land in a camper (talk about living in a tiny home before it was cool– and it definitely was not all that and a bag of chips) before buying a “fixer upper” home to live in while we finish our dream home and farm.

In 2016, we had our beautiful baby girl, Lily. Before having Lily, I practiced as a Master’s level social worker. It was too hard to leave my baby girl, so I became a SAHM (I even complete the look with a minivan). It has been quite the adjustment going from working full time to being a SAHM, but I must say the 60+ hour work weeks of a social worker has prepared me well for motherhood. Along with lots of prayer and God’s grace, lots of great mom friends, and lots of internet searching, I feel like I have been able to grow positively as a mom and remain somewhat sane.

When I’m not attending to my daughter’s needs, you can find me catching up on my sleep, engorging in chocolate, tackling a home project that my husband will later fix, or attempting to have a social life or home date night with my husband. I also love crafting, hiking, working out, and learning new things!

Michelle

Michelle-CMB

Hi, there! I’m Michelle. When I was nineteen years old, I came to visit a friend who had moved to Chattanooga and spent a weekend falling in love with the Scenic City. At the end of my visit, I drove over Veteran’s Bridge on my way out of town. The sun was rising over the river, indie folk music was blasting on my stereo, the wind was whipping through my Jeep windows, and I had the sort of epiphany only a nineteen year old can have, “This would be a really cool place to live.”  

A year later, I was given the opportunity to move to Chattanooga. Taking that opportunity is the best decision I have ever made. Over the past decade, Chattanooga has seen me become a wife, a college graduate, a homeowner, a homemaker, and a mother to three wild and beautiful boy children. Turns out, I was right: it is a really cool place to live.

My family and I live in a little red house in Highland Park. We may spend the day in our garden or running around downtown or at one of many therapy appointments for our littlest cerebral palsy rockstar, but you will always find at least one of us covered in dirt, someone wearing a costume, and everyone having a good time. We are unschoolers, zero-wasters, radical homemakers, and modern day hippies in all the usual ways. I am passionate about environmental conservation, gentle-parenting, books, coffee and houseplants. Whenever time allows, I sporadically ramble at http://weirdbird.weebly.com/ and I am thrilled to be contributing to the Chattanooga Moms Blog because I am in love with Chattanooga and I love connecting with other moms.